Marilyn Englander: Heavenly Peace

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 (Marilyn Englander)

The Earth isn’t such a happy place these days, but Marilyn Englander finds solace by looking up into the heavens.

As California shut down once again, I felt my spirits plunging as well.

It’s no longer working to say, “Just hang on.” I need to look beyond myself for a lift.

So I took a walk along the closest stretch of water I could find. It’s a working marina, not a beauty spot. The water is murky, the shore an unappealing scum of crusty algae on mud. But there was a sea breeze, and an open vista across the bay.

On an unremarkable patch of shore sat a mother with her two children, the baby in a stroller pushed down to the water’s edge. Plotzed in the brown shallows sat a chubby 2-year-old. She filled and poured her little bucket, utterly mesmerized and delighted, unaware that she’s banished this summer to a no-name place. Her mother was tanning happily in the same sun that shines down on the empty beaches. The baby snoozed to the soothing lap of waves.


They had found cheer and contentment. What about me?

So when my son invited me to the top of the hill to watch for a new comet that would be visible just after sunset, I nudged myself to say yes. The night was balmy, the sky glowing a deep violet. It took a long time to get dark. Silently, we stood in the scrubby grass and scanned the horizon until Neowise shyly emerged above the trees. Its delicate long tail streaked behind, hidden then visible, twinkling in the night, taking our breath away. The wind blew a little. Stars and planets appeared.

We gazed out into galactic time. How small my human troubles suddenly seemed. I felt the most peaceful I have in months.

More solace is out there. The Perseid meteor showers will dazzle in the next weeks, streaking by our struggling planet. Returning faithfully for centuries, this wonder will continue well beyond our lives.

That we are part of something grander that goes on and on is humbling, and comforting.

With a Perspective, this is Marilyn Englander.

Marilyn Englander is a North Bay educator.